On Monday, there was a yearly festival in Oaxaca City, Mexico, called the Guelaguetza. Sadly, the police attacked the gathering, and at least one person was killed, 30 injured, and 65 “disappeared”. This is part of a larger pattern of repression that I have talked about many times on this site, with violent police action being taken against innocent people, especially those who are opposed to the current political regime in the state.
We’ve got some photos of the Guelguetza here.
The first batch of pictures is of the fiesta, people in colorful outfits dancing and playing music. I’m very impressed by the murals and stencil art as well.
The second batch is where things start to get grim. You get the wall of riot cops (to save the city from the wrath of a dance party, I suppose), followed by clubs, tear gas, and blood.
And in the third batch the police crackdown has turned into a street battle. Also, note that the tear gas cannisters are proudly Made in the USA.
The activists who took those photos are calling on all concerned people to contact members of the Mexican government, as well as human rights organizations on behalf of the besieged Oxacans:
Oaxaca, July 16, 2007
URGENT ACTION–PLEASE SEND PETITION BELOW AND FORWARD WIDELY
NEW ESCALATION OF POLICE REPRESSION AGAINST THE POPULAR MOVEMENT IN OAXACA!
This past Monday, July 16, at approximately 11:30 a.m., elements of the
Municipal Police, Preventive Police, and Industrial and Banking Police,
attacked with tear gas and rocks, marchers of the Popular Assembly of the
Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and teachers of the National Teachers Workers
Union, Section 22, who were trying to join the local festivities Fiesta
Popular Oaxaqueña, in Guelaguetza Auditorium, Cerro del Fortín de la Ciudad
During this attack, several police brigades brutally beat the teachers and
peaceful marchers, throwing tear gas against local commercial offices,
private homes, and public buildings. Moreover, the violent escalation ended
up in several wounded, included journalists from the Reforma, Noticias,
Marca, and Tiempo newspapers, who were covering the brutal beatings imparted
by the police. Although not yet officially confirmed, we would like to
report 50 wounded, 45 people detained, and at least one dead.
These violent acts are marked by the State Government actions during
Guelaguetza 2007, where areas of Cerro del Fortín were sealed off in which
members of the Mexican Military Elite, the Preventative Federal Police, and
the Federal Agency of Investigation participated. This operation was
coordinated by the Secretaría de Protección Ciudadana, whose objective was
to prevent the celebration organized by APPO and Section 22. Nevertheless,
the Administration had declared days earlier their absolute respect for such
We consider that this incident is one of many provocations implemented by
the state government against the APPO and is an irrefutable sign, moreover,
of a government that is unable to dialogue, opting instead for the
irrational use of police force against civilians. These actions are clear
evidence of a recurring violation of human rights in the Oaxaca region,
illegal under international treaties signed by Mexico.
Therefore, we make the following immediate demands:
• For an end to police represion, harrasment, and intimidation of the
social and popular movements in Oaxaca
• We condenm governmental actions and indiscriminate use of force by the
State and Federal police
• We demand the release of all political prisioners, making Federal and
State officials responsible in the case of arbitrary detentions and
disappearances of civilians.
Send your petitions to with copies to human rights entities:
Presidente FELIPE DE JESÚS CALDERÓN HINOJOSA
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, México DF
Tel: +52 (55) 27891100
Fax: +52 (55) 52772376
Licenciado Francisco Javier Ramírez Acuña,
Secretario de Gobernación,
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez,
Delegación Cuauhtémoc, México D.F., C.P. 06600, México,
Fax: +52 (55) 5093 3414
Louise Arbour, Alta Comisionada de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos
Humanos, (High Commissioner for United Nations Human Rights Commission)
Sr. Santiago Cantón
Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, (Executive Secretary of the
Interamerican Human Rights Commission)
Dr. José Luis Soberanes Fernández
Presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Periférico Sur 3469, Col.
San Jerónimo Lídice,
10200, México, D.F.
Tel: 631 00 40, 6 81 81 25
Fax: 56 81 84 90
Lada sin costo: 01 800 00 869
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